Always Time To Die Hardcover – Jun 23 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Ann Maxwell has written over 60 books in multiple genres; as Elizabeth Lowell (Die in Plain Sight), she creates dialogue with immediacy and emotional coloration that sets her apart from the romantic suspense pack. Her 10th outing as Lowell begins with the tidy murder of "The Senator," the ill and infirm patriarch of a prominent Taos, N.Mex., clan. Carly May, a genealogist/historical researcher, is commissioned to write a family history by a disgruntled family member who hopes she'll dig up dirt. As Carly's research starts in earnest, she meets, among the Senator's many legitimate and illegitimate children, Dan Duran, a former CIA-like operative who, she finds out (but the reader knows all along), is the Senator's illegitimate grandson. Carly gets dire threats, she and Dan get close, and more people die. By combining new techniques of DNA testing with old-fashioned research and detective work (lots of appealing New Mexican history comes into play), Carly and Dan finally discover the truth about the family. But readers will care less about that than about their many charming exchanges, which Lowell crafts with sophistication and a sense of play. Quality and quantity may not be mutually exclusive after all. (July 1)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Carly May was adopted and has never found out anything about her own biological roots, yet tracing genealogical roots for other families is how she makes a living. She has been hired by Winifred Simmons y Castillo, aunt of the governor of New Mexico, to write a history of her family, but only of the female descendants. This is highly unusual; then, when Carly arrives in Taos, she finds that the governor's father has died, and no one is truly mourning him. The power dynamics within the family have changed, and only Winifred wants Carly there, as proven by the threats she receives. Dan Duran has returned to Taos after sustaining injuries while tangling with a drug cartel. He knows that searching through family secrets can be deadly and takes on the role of white knight toward Carly as they investigate an illustrious but suspect family. As always, Lowell delivers top-notch romantic suspense in her signature staccato style. Patty Engelmann
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is the first of the St Hilda Consulting series. It can be read alone though. I read it after all the other books in the series. These characters have much less involvement with other St Hilda employees which is why it can be read alone.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Governor Josh Quintrell was the old man's son. Josh could care less that the old man was dead. Josh had his eyes on the White House. All he had to do was keep his family's dirty laundry hidden from the voting public for eleven more months. Then he could sell the ranch that had been in his family for centuries and stick his ailing mother, Sylvia, in a nursing home somewhere. Sylvia had not spoken to anyone or acknowledged her surroundings since the 1960s. She would never even realize that she was no longer on the ranch.
Winifred Simmons y Castillo was Josh's aunt, Sylvia's sister. Winifred was glad the dirty old man was dead. He never really cared for his ailing wife anyway. Winifred stayed by her sister's side, willing her to live each day. Winifred hired Carolina "Carly" May to write the Castillo family history. She was the last of the Castillo line. It was time to put their history into print for all the world to know. It was time to get vengeance for Sylvia's sake.
Carly loved genealogy. Perhaps it was because she was adopted, her file sealed, and she had no way to know her own biological family history. This time the family she wrote about was famous. Carly felt honored to be doing the Castillo-Quintrell family history. But no one in town wanted Carly to dig into the past. All of them had dark secrets. Many warned her to quit and leave. Help came in the form of mysterious Daniel "Dan" Duran, who was tight lipped about his occupation. All he would tell her is that he was on vacation for a few months. Dan had grown up in the area. He knew a lot about the families Carly was working on. He also knew that most of the locals were, in some way, related to the former Senator. Someone wanted the Senator's secrets to die quietly, just like the dirty old man had. Dan was determined to keep Carly alive.
**** This is a intriguing story filled with danger, suspense, and just a touch of romance. People interested in learning a bit about genealogy, how to find relatives via DNA samples, or how to figure out the dates of old photos will enjoy the details that the author goes into. If you are in no way interested in such things, you may find yourself skimming areas of the book because the author included a lot of her research on the subjects. This makes the story even more realistic to the readers. So does all the information the author added about the history of New Mexico. At some parts of the story I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat, trying to figure out who did what, when, and why, as if it was a CSI television episode. Author Elizabeth Lowell has a new fan in me! ****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
I read about two-thirds of this book in a day, then didn't pick it up again for weeks because it simply didn't hold my interest. Having said that, if you are interested in genealogy, you will probably enjoy this book a good deal more than I did. But if you're looking for a good romance/suspense novel, you may well be disappointed.
Dan Duran, the unrecognized great-grandson of the late Senator from an illegitimate tryst, also has big concerns over Carly's study because it upsets his mother; he wants the endeavor stopped. When Carly refuses, Dan decides to keep an eye on her to see what dirt she digs up. However, someone else warns Carly to cease and deist or else she will be stopped in a violent manner. Dan joins her to uncover the family secret that someone wants buried and is willing to kill to keep it interred. He wonders if a highly visible politician would stoop so low.
This is a detailed suspense thriller filled with realistic and complex characters that will intrigue those readers who want more background information on topics critical to the story line. The use of DNA and the dating of old photographs that provide historical state tidbits augment the investigation and adds depth to the cast especially the heroine but also slows down the action. Still ALWAYS TIME TO DIE is a strong, realistic and exciting thriller in which the romance plays a key but secondary subplot.